Degrees and Certifications:
The College of Saint Rose Master of Science in Education, Special Education SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome Bachelor of Arts, Psychology (Psi Chi Honor Society) Mohawk Valley Community College Associates of Applied Science, Human Services (Phi Theta Kappa Society)
My name is Valerie Smith. I was born in Gyor, Hungary, in 1955. My mother worked as an engineer in an auto factory. My father worked at night as an armed guard in the same auto factory after serving ten years in the Hungarian military. The Russian occupation of Hungary in 1956 resulted in the Hungarian Revolution. My father's strong belief in freedom and immense dislike for communism prompted him to make a decision that would change our lives forever. He decided to escape our homeland of Hungary and come to America. After weeks of traveling on foot, by train, and on foot again to the rugged borders of Austria we became refugees, and waited in an Austrian refugee camp to enter the United States on a military transporter called the U.S.S. General LeRoy Eltinge. This transporter ship took our family and thousands of others across the Atlantic Ocean during the cold winter. After several weeks on the dangerous waters, we took our first steps on American soil on January 1, 1957. The picture on the right is of my mother, brother, and sister. I am the baby. Although both my parents are gone, they left behind thirteen very productive, loving members of society who are all proud to be living in this beautiful country called, America!